Ron Stonier: A Concept of Time – Curator Tour
Saturday, March 2, 2 pm.
Throughout his career, Ron Stonier (1933–2001) was primarily concerned with abstraction and established a practice dedicated to an unceasing investigation of painting. Stonier developed and moved through separate and at times discrete themes to create a unique visual language that combined colour and technique, abstract expressionism with elements of pop and hard-edged painting.
In the early 1960s, he used patches of paint and forms coalesced and contained within broader fields and frames. By the end of that decade, his work became more precise, using horizontal bands in Couples and round concentric rings in the Targets series from the 1970s. Later, in a series of large-scale works entitled The Four Seasons, he began to move away from hard-edged forms returning to a more painterly approach he had explored previously.
While his work was driven by constant experimentation, Stonier was acutely aware of his artistic predecessors. In 1977, he observed, “To live in the present is to include the future with the past. To live in the future is to lose the present and end up in the past.”
Stonier was born in Victoria, BC, the only child of a British father and a mother who descended from an American fur trader and a member of the Tlingit First Nation. Stonier studied at the Provincial Normal School in Victoria, the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington, Seattle. At the outset of conscription for the Korean War, Stonier returned to Canada. In 1957, he completed his education at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design), studying with Gordon Smith and Jack Shadbolt. Stonier returned to teach painting there from 1962 until 1978.
While teaching, Stonier gained the reputation as a kind and dedicated teacher, who held his students to the same exacting standard to which he held himself. From 1978 until his death in 2001, Stonier continued his practice, painting and drawing daily.
Image: Ron Stonier, Untitled (detail), 1960s, acrylic on canvas, courtesy of the estate